What is the Safety Management System?
The FMCSA uses the SMS to identify carriers with potential safety problems for interventions. This is part of the Agency’s safety compliance and enforcement program called Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA).
It takes data from many sources. These include roadside inspections, investigations, crash reports, and motor carrier census data. They organize the data is into seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). These are Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, Hours-of-Service Compliance, Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Hazardous Materials Compliance (HM), and Driver Fitness. The FMCSA quantifies the data and provides a measure of the motor carrier’s safety performance. So, the higher the percentile the worst the safety performance. If it reaches a certain threshold, the motor carrier is “tagged” with Acute or Critical Violations. If a carrier has one or more Acute and/or Critical Violations within the past 12 months during an investigation, the carrier will receive an “Alert” in the corresponding BASICs.
What The Report Showed
One thing we know for sure is that there are a lot of motor carriers in Texas. Here's the summary report:
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The most common motor carrier violations in Texas (from most to least) are:
- Vehicle maintenance
- HOS compliance
- Driver fitness
- Drug and alcohol
- Unsafe driving
- Hazardous materials compliance.
One thing you should take away is to check your vehicles often for maintenance. Improper vehicle maintenance accounts for over 50% of the motor carrier safety violations in Texas. Don’t forget to check your motor carrier and safety performance data often.
US DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Safety Measurement System Methodology: Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) Prioritization Status, Feb. 2016,
https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMSMethodology.pdf, Accessed 31 Nov. 2016.